Scientists just built a working tractor beam that relies on soun - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Scientists just built a working tractor beam that relies on sound waves

image courtesy of Digital Trends image courtesy of Digital Trends

By Drew Prindle
Provided by


Thanks to the relentless progression of technology, more and more things that were once science fiction are now becoming science fact. Case in point: a few months ago, a multinational team of researchers collaborating from the UK, Scotland, and the US, successfully built a functioning acoustic tractor beam in a lab — news that we’re sure evil geniuses everywhere are thrilled to hear. 

However, all of you aspiring intergalactic supervillains out there should probably keep your excitement contained for now. At this point, the beam is only able to pull objects that are just centimeters in size, so it’ll need to be scaled up substantially if you’re ever going to trap and pull in a fleeing enemy spacecraft. But hey, you’ve got to walk before you can run, right?

In a paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the team describes how they built the device, how it works, and what it could potentially be used for. Unfortunately, galactic domination isn’t in the cards, since the beam relies on sound waves to work, and sound doesn’t travel in the vacuum of space.

But all is not lost – the beam still has some pretty nifty potential applications here on Earth. We’ll get to those in a minute, but first, here’s a quick overview of how it works: The researchers created the tractor beam by firing ultrasonic sound waves at an object and strategically scattering the waves so they hit the target object at a certain angle. By controlling the scattering angle just right, they were able to create a low pressure zone in front of the object, which caused it to move toward the origin of the beam.

However, it’s worth noting that the experiment was conducted in a tank of water, and since sound travels through water much more easily than it does through air, it’s difficult to determine how effective this technique would be in a less ideal environment. Regardless though, it’s still pretty cool.

Acoustic tractor beam tech is definitely still in its infancy at this point, but with further refinement it could potentially be used by doctors to extract foreign objects from people’s bodies.

Find out more here.


This article was originally posted on Digital Trends

Content provided by
INFORMATIONAL DISCLAIMER The information contained on or provided through this site is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional financial or accounting advice. Always seek the advice of your accountant or other qualified personal finance advisor for answers to any related questions you may have. Use of this site and any information contained on or provided through this site is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • Headlines from Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, Fulton & Monroe CountiesNewsMore>>

  • Man's body pulled from water at Put-in-Bay

    Man's body pulled from water at Put-in-Bay

    Friday, June 22 2018 2:50 PM EDT2018-06-22 18:50:42 GMT
    (Source: uscg.mil)(Source: uscg.mil)
    (Source: uscg.mil)(Source: uscg.mil)

    An identification has not yet been given, but Coast Guard officials said they believe this is a person who had been reported missing late last night.

    More >>

    An identification has not yet been given, but Coast Guard officials said they believe this is a person who had been reported missing late last night.

    More >>
  • VIDEO: Milo the pig at center of family's fight in Sylvania Township

    VIDEO: Milo the pig at center of family's fight in Sylvania Township

    Friday, June 22 2018 2:35 PM EDT2018-06-22 18:35:53 GMT

    After a Sylvania Township family received notice that their pet pig is not permitted under Sylvania Township ordinances, they've taken the pig's plight public with a petition drive. The Crandell family are the keepers of Milo, who is deemed as both a pet and an emotional support animal for Todd Crandell. After a neighbor called Sylvania Township officials to report Milo, the family was informed they had 30 days to get rid of him. Sylvania Township has an ordinance that prevent...

    More >>

    After a Sylvania Township family received notice that their pet pig is not permitted under Sylvania Township ordinances, they've taken the pig's plight public with a petition drive. The Crandell family are the keepers of Milo, who is deemed as both a pet and an emotional support animal for Todd Crandell. After a neighbor called Sylvania Township officials to report Milo, the family was informed they had 30 days to get rid of him. Sylvania Township has an ordinance that prevent...

    More >>
  • Giraffe calf dies after birth at Port Clinton's Watering Hole Safari

    Giraffe calf dies after birth at Port Clinton's Watering Hole Safari

    Friday, June 22 2018 2:22 PM EDT2018-06-22 18:22:35 GMT
    The Watering Hole Safari's giraffe's calf died after being born Thursday morning. (Source: WTOL)The Watering Hole Safari's giraffe's calf died after being born Thursday morning. (Source: WTOL)

    Monsoon Lagoon Waterpark personnel are mourning the loss of their giraffe Macey's calf, which died after an early birth Thursday. The waterpark said Macey went into labor at 5 a.m. Thursday and delivered the calf at 8:47 a.m. "Even though the vets and staff tried every effort, the calf did not survive," the park's Facebook post said. Monsoon Lagoon Waterpark Macey lives at the Watering Hole Safari at Monsoon Lagoon in Port Clinton. The adult giraffe is doing we...

    More >>

    Monsoon Lagoon Waterpark personnel are mourning the loss of their giraffe Macey's calf, which died after an early birth Thursday. The waterpark said Macey went into labor at 5 a.m. Thursday and delivered the calf at 8:47 a.m. "Even though the vets and staff tried every effort, the calf did not survive," the park's Facebook post said. Monsoon Lagoon Waterpark Macey lives at the Watering Hole Safari at Monsoon Lagoon in Port Clinton. The adult giraffe is doing we...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly